Emotional support animals lift spirits amid pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The world has been turned upside with people across the country struggling with anxiety and depression, among other COVID-19 induced mental health issues. If you find yourself in this group, you might want to consider getting an emotional support animal.

Findings from a new survey released by Texas-based company, CertaPet, showed that people who enlist animals for emotional support are better off mentally. Out of the 300 participants paired with an emotional support animal, 89 percent reported having fewer panic attack, 94 percent said they felt less anxious and 98 percent indicated feeling an increased zest for life.

“This study demonstrates that what those in animal assisted therapy spaces have long known: That a pet can drastically increase your quality of life,” said clinical care director or CertaPet, Prairie Conlon. “Emotional support animals are often frowned upon by society or disregarded as pseudoscience, but this research shows how valuable they actually are.”

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.